The French manicure — it’s the workhorse of the nail salon. The bread and butter. And with so many clients requesting this classy look, techs have had time to practice, hone, and perfect their procedures. Kala Bastion of Sophisticuts Salon and Day Spa in Princeton, Ill., gives some quick tips on how to make this service run quicker and smoother, and have a better-looking finish.

> I let my base coat dry before applying a base color, such as pink or peach, and then I let that base color dry completely as well. This makes for a much quicker drying time when I eventually add the white.

> Only use one coat of base color (unless requested by the client) instead of the usual two. This speeds up the drying time and gives a fresh, clean, and natural look.

> After applying the white to the tips of the nails, wait to apply your top coat. If you do this too soon without allowing time for your white to set, you will swirl the white in with the top coat and the rest of your work. You’ll end up with a marble-looking French and will have to start over.

> Using a UV top coat helps keep whites from yellowing and helps them look their brightest.

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